Trump, 6 January Panel to Face Off in Federal Appeals Court Over White House Docs
13:49 GMT 30.11.2021 (Updated: 14:43 GMT 30.11.2021)
© SCOTT OLSONFormer President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on October 09, 2021 in Des Moines, Iowa.
© SCOTT OLSON
The House Select Committee investigating the 6 January Capitol riots asked for documents from the National Archives and other federal agencies in August. Donald Trump is appealing an earlier ruling by a US District Judge that required he turn over the requested 700-plus pages of visitor logs, speech drafts, White House call logs and other records.
A federal appeals court on Tuesday is hearing arguments regarding whether former President Donald Trump can use executive privilege to block access to his administration's documents from the US House select committee investigating the Capitol riots on 6 January.
The documents were subpoenaed by the committee from the National Archives and Records Administration and other federal agencies earlier in August, under the claim that it sought to preserve democracy, complete its probe, and recommend "remedial" legislation.
Trump has been contesting the release of papers estimated to run to more than 700 pages and ranging from talking points prepared for the press secretary, presidential schedules, appointments, activity logs and call logs to handwritten notes about events on 6 January, appointments for White House visitors and switchboard checklists showing calls to Trump and former Vice-President Mike Pence, according to a court filing from the National Archives.
According to Trump’s attorneys, revealing the documents would hamper the ability of all future presidents to protect the “sanctity” of private discussions with aides.
“Every Congress will point to some unprecedented thing about ‘this President’ to justify a request for his presidential records,” Trump lawyers Justin Clark and Jesse Binnall wrote in a brief filed with the appeals court, according to Politico.
In response, House counsel Douglas Letter was cited as saying in his appeals court brief on behalf of the committee:
“Future elections are imminent and there could be future attacks on democracy rooted in conduct occurring well before the election.”
‘Illegitimate, Unprecedented in Scope’
Trump is appealing a November ruling by US District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who said that the committee was within legal bounds to request White House records, emphasising that "presidents are not kings, and plaintiff is not president."
However, a US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an administrative injunction that temporarily blocked the release of the contested documents while the case is pending. It added that oral arguments on the release of the aforementioned documents will take place on 30 November in the presence of three circuit Judges Ketanji Brown Jackson, Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins.
Trump's legal team has been arguing that the Select Committee's request lacked legitimacy and was "unprecedented in their breadth and scope". Attorneys have also insisted that executive privilege should be applicable as Trump was in office at the time of the US Capitol events.
© AP Photo / Jose Luis MaganaIn this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. U.S.
In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. U.S.
© AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana
On 6 January 2021, thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building, temporarily interrupting a joint sitting of Congress to certify Biden's win in the November election. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died as a result. The events were preceded by a Trump rally, which attracted a huge turnout. The Democrats have insisted that Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud incited the so-called insurrection.
© Shannon StapletonTear gas is released into a crowd of protesters, with one wielding a Confederate battle flag that reads "Come and Take It," during clashes with Capitol police
Tear gas is released into a crowd of protesters, with one wielding a Confederate battle flag that reads "Come and Take It," during clashes with Capitol police
© Shannon Stapleton
The former president, who has repeatedly claimed the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him, was accused of “inciting” the violence. Trump, who vehemently denied the accusations, was later impeached by the US House of Representatives on charges of incitement to insurrection, but was subsequently acquitted by the Senate.
The partisan Democrat-led House select committee investigating the 6 January riots at the US Capitol was established on 30 June and lambasted by Republicans as an instrument to attack former President Donald Trump, has since issued a flurry of subpoenas to dozens of individuals, including several former administration officials.
Steve Bannon, a former adviser to Donald Trump, was charged with two counts of contempt for flouting such a subpoena. The former White House strategist pleaded not guilty to a charge of criminal contempt, as he filed a request that all documents in his case be made public.
Similarly, Mark Meadows, former White House chief of staff, and Jeffrey Clark, a former Department of Justice official, refused to cooperate with the House committee which has since extended its investigation, issuing subpoenas in recent weeks to Alex Jones, Roger Stone and the leaders of far-right groups, the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.